Spotted at CERAWeek: Houston’s highest paid executive

HOUSTON — Sitting on a stool, scrolling through his smartphone, Houston’s best paid executive passed the time between sessions at the IHS Energy CERAWeek conference.

Cheniere Energy CEO Charif Souki, whose 2012 compensation was $57.5 million, said he attends the conference to meet people on the sidelines and catch the occasional presentation. The conference is being held at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Souki is Houston’s highest paid executive, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Nothing Souki and other executives had heard so far from speakers seemed to be much of a surprise, he said.

“If we have to come to this conference to learn something, we are in trouble,” Souki said.

The Cheniere story: A head start lets Cheniere catch up

Houston-based Cheniere is on track to be the first company to export liquefied natural gas produced from the U.S. shale boom. The company received its export permits in 2011, two years before any other project.

As interest in natural gas exports has soared in recent years, so has Cheniere’s stock. The company’s stock hit an all-time high this week above $52 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares in Cheniere were trading at $51.72 Wednesday morning. The company’s shares are up from $21.60 a year ago.

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who leads the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, earns less than Souki. Tillerson had a reported compensation of $40.3 million in 2012.

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